This past October, my husband and I decided to embark on a 7 day cruise to Bermuda via the Norwegian Breakaway. We only had 3 days to spend off the ship in Bermuda, but we were determined to make the most of it. I had visited Bermuda with my family one other time when I was a young child, but this was my husband’s first time to this beautiful island. In fact, it might as well have been my first time too, since I was only 6 years old the first time around. I do remember having so much fun on the beaches with my younger brother though and I really couldn’t wait to revisit those pink sand beaches again.
The weather was quite windy while we visited, and we received a little rain here and there, but overall we still felt very lucky as the sun always came out for at least part of the day. It was actually incredible how it could be raining one minute and then just 10 minutes later, it would be all clear with sunny skies as if it never rained at all.
To get around the island, we decided to purchase a 3 day unlimited bus and ferry pass, so we were able to get on and off wherever as we pleased. It was extremely easy to get from place to place.
We carried a map with us and there was always a friendly local you could ask for help in case you were unsure if it was the right stop for you. Just from riding on the bus, we felt we got a good sense of Bermudians. They all seemed like hard working, happy people who are very respectful of each other, especially towards their elders. Everyone we came across was very polite and there was one instance where the bus driver said he wouldn’t drive to the next stop unless someone got up to give their seat to a 76 year old woman who could barely hold on. My husband and I were at the very back of the bus at the time and couldn’t see what was going on up front, or we would have offered her one of our seats much earlier. Very quickly, another tourist got up and gave her his seat. He had his back turned to her and we don’t believe he saw her get on earlier either, otherwise we assume he would have gave her his seat then. This unexpected interaction caught my attention and made me happy.
I honestly can’t say a bus driver in another city would have necessarily done the same. The people of Bermuda truly care about each other and you got this sense that everyone kind of looks out for one another.
There was another instance that stood out when my husband and I were coming back from a late lunch and it had been raining, so he had his towel draped over his head kind of like a hood. As we were boarding the bus back, the bus driver politely asked him to take the towel off his head because he didn’t want the kids to see him like that and then do the same. Bermudians want to be the best examples for all the children. We watched as many school children got on and off. They all looked like bright kids dressed in their proper uniforms. They made us smile and reminded us of being kids ourselves. Anywhere we travel to in this world, we always notice children are really the same everywhere. They are all learning about life and just want to have fun. We actually enjoyed taking the bus as we felt we were getting a nice glimpse into people’s everyday lives.
Now, onto some of the places we visited…On day one, our first stop was Gibbs’ Hill Lighthouse which was built in 1844. It is the oldest cast iron lighthouse in the world and is a landmark in Bermuda. You get some beautiful views from up here and climbing to the top of the lighthouse is an option if you’re feeling up to it. Next, we headed to Bermuda Botanical Gardens in Paget Parish. Admission is free and it was so peaceful and relaxing wandering around the gardens. There’s actually 35 acres to explore, so you can spend quite some time here. We didn’t walk around all of it though. We’ll have to go back and perhaps, take a guided tour next time.
We were feeling hungry at this point, so we decided to take the bus into Bermuda’s capital city, Hamilton, for lunch. Hamilton was full of people, both with tourists, and businessmen dressed in Bermuda shorts. I found it very amusing seeing them dressed like that. I do not get to see men in suit jackets paired with Bermuda shorts back home, so that was fun. Hamilton itself is a beautiful vibrant city. One side is lined with businesses, shops, and restaurants and the other side you’ll find the harbor. We chose a cute restaurant with a nice patio to dine at. I had some fish cakes with a salad and my husband opted for a chicken sandwich and fries. Both meals were great and satisfying. We then walked around along the harbor and did some shopping as well. We had a very pleasant time in Hamilton.
Afterwards, we were ready to visit Horseshoe Bay beach in Southampton. We got off the bus and walked down a hill to the entrance of the beach. There is a café and restrooms down there which is very convenient. Horseshoe Bay Beach truly is stunning! Upon entering, you just see a gorgeous stretch of soft pink sand and turquoise water. It’s no surprise why it has been rated as one of the most beautiful beaches in the entire world. To the right of Horseshoe Bay Beach, is Port Royal Cove where you’ll find some interesting rock formations. The water is really shallow, so it’s perfect for kids to wade around in. The rocks and the water here also make for some wonderful picturesque photos. I fell in love with the beach and the cove so, I will definitely be back.
Day two in Bermuda was spent at Grotto Bay Beach Resort. We had booked a couples massage here within Prospero’s Cave in advance. We arrived early and walked around this lovely resort which we really want to stay at during our next visit. We walked through Cathedral Cave which was an amazing sight! This crystal cave is full of enchantment and simply dazzling. It honestly feels magical inside.
Soon after, it was time for our couples massage and to our delight, Prospero’s Cave was no less alluring! It was much bigger in fact and the massage was by far the best massage we’ve ever had, mainly due to the ambiance, though the masseuses were both excellent as well! I had never felt more relaxed in my life.
Listening to the water slowly dripping inside the cave during the massage was very soothing. After the massage, I captured a couple quick photos to remember this special place by. The stalactites and stalagmites are uniquely beautiful and they really transformed the upper section of this cave into a functioning spa with seating areas and stairs. Getting a massage within Prospero’s cave is highly recommended! You will not be disappointed. We decided to have lunch at the resort overlooking the beach after our massage. Food was tasty and the service was superb. Like I said, it’s highly probable, we will stay at this resort during our next visit.
Day three, we walked around the Royal Naval Dockyard which was once in service for more than 150 years having been the principal base for the Royal Navy in the Western Atlantic. Today, it has been converted into a museum, art galleries, shops, pubs, and more. We took it easy on our last day and just strolled around, bought some souvenirs, ate rum cake, and sadly said our goodbyes to this amazing place. Bermuda proved to be full of beauty, charm, and warm hearted people. It’s the perfect destination for relaxation. We felt safe, and in awe of everything the island had to offer. I’ve been to many tropical places, but Bermuda is exceptional. I cannot wait to return and learn even more about this island!
-Tiffany Liu Groset-